While the Trump administration, on one hand, continues with its hard-nosed approach against H-1B visa programme, Asian country Singapore seems to be walking on the footprints of the United States.
Like the US, Singapore too has advised Indian IT firms to hire local talent. As a result, some of them have begun relocating few of their operations to countries in the region. After HCL and TCS, which were the early movers to Singapore, the list has now expanded to Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant and L&T Infotech.
Visas for IT professionals to work in Singapore have dropped “to a trickle” and the slashing has been in force since early 2016, said a Times of India report.
This has even prompted the Indian government to put on hold a review of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) citing violation of the trade pact.
“This (visa problem) has been lingering for a while but since early-2016, visas are down to a trickle. All Indian companies have received communication on fair consideration, which basically means hiring local people,” Nasscom president R Chandrashekhar told Times of India.
The report cited another industry executive saying that for all climate purposes, visas has stopped for our people.
Provoked by problems for IT and banking sectors, the Indian government has now decided against expanding the scope of goods where import duties would be cut, unless the concerns of domestic industry are addressed.
Sources said that Singapore authorities were insisting on what is called “economic needs test” (ENT), which requires compliance with certain economic criteria, to deny access to Indian professionals.
“They are doing it despite the CECA clearly stating that there will be no ENT or quotas on agreed services. This is a violation of the agreement,” said an Indian officer.